What is DTF Printing?
DTF stands or Direct to Film. DTF Printing is a new method of digital textile printing. The DTF process is as simple as its name suggests – Print on a unique film called PET film and directly transfer onto fabric. A critical reason DTF is superior to other printing processes is that you can do it on fabrics like polyester, cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers like rayon or terry cot. Therefore this process is better than DTG printing and sublimation printing.
Basic steps in DTF printing are as follows.
Step 1: Choose your design.
Get a DTF printer or convert a regular printer into a DTF printer. First, upload your design onto software such as Cadlink or Acrorip. This software reads and separates the colors in a design by channels and allows your printer to print CYMK and white. Next, you should get special DTF Inks that have not just CMYK but also white ink.
Step 2: Print on the Film.
You should not use the standard paper but the PET film. First, you print the whole image on the PET film. Next, set the color you want and print the image on the white base. Take care not to smudge the paint when you remove it from the tray! A DTF printer with a heating system can dry the ink faster on the output tray.
Step 3: Spread the Powder.
This step is to pour the hot melt powder onto the PET film. When printing wet images, you should ensure all the power is distributed into the surface evenly. The important thing is to ensure that the powder is evenly scattered all over the printed surface on the film. Usually, you would keep a tray next to the printer, sprinkle the powder onto the web print, then seesaw back and forth until it covers the wet ink. Then CAREFULLY shake off the excess. Alternately, one can use an automatic powdering and melting machine.
Step 4: Melt the Powder.
This stage expects you to melt the powder, and there are a couple of ways to do this.
- You can either put the film containing a printing picture and powder application into a curing oven.
- Use a heat press. Presently bring the highest point of the warmth press exceptionally near this PET Film. Be that as it may, you should ensure the warmth board doesn't contact the film. There should be a hole of 4 to 7 mm between the warmth press and the PET film.
Step 5: Pre-Press the Fabric.
It doesn't have to be a shirt, of course. But whatever you're going to use your DTF transfer to should be completely smooth. Any wrinkles will show up in print!
And more importantly, it will simply dry the material. You'd be amazed how much moisture fabric can absorb from humidity in the air, and that would affect print quality.
Step 6: Applying for the DTF Transfer.
It is the core of the DTF printing process. First, the PET film with the image and the melted powder are placed on the fabric. Then, use a heat press to transfer the design onto the fabric. This step aims to make a strong adhesion between the film and the cloth, which is also called curing. Finally, the film is firmly attached to the fabric with a 160 to 170 degrees Celsius temperature range for about fifteen to twenty seconds.
Step 7: Warm or Cold Peeling.
After heat pressing onto the fabric, set it aside. The hot melt acts as a binder that binds the colored pigment in the inks with the fabric fibers. After a while, you can peel the PET film off using Lotsa Style DTF transfer film. You do not have to wait until it is completely cooled off.
Step 8: Post Pressing.
Post-pressing is an optional step, but you should do it on every garment application. In this process, you can press the fabric with a transferred design under the heat press for 10 to 15 seconds.
DTF printing is an advanced printing method for crafters and small business owners. It allows you to print in small quantities. For business owners, you can expand your service by introducing DTF printing as an additional print service to your customers. You can offer low minimum orders while providing top-quality prints. Check out Lotsa Style DTF supplies now!